Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Morgridge College of Education

First Advisor

P. Bruce Uhrmacher, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Richard Kitchen

Third Advisor

Kristina Hesbol

Fourth Advisor

Scott Leutenegger


Heterotopia, Hybridity, Identity, Intersectionality, Professional, Teacher


Teachers are more than teachers, however, they do not often discuss, define or identify their multiple professional identities they possess. Likewise, society narrowly perceives and categorizes the conception of teacher, and disregards practices teachers perform that do not fit neatly into established constructs within the profession. This research study explores the multiple professional identities of teachers, specifically art teachers, to understand how they perceive themselves as professionals, and furthermore, to investigate what happens when professional identities intersect, overlap, and create hybrid spaces. Teacher professional identity, multiple identity, intersectionality, and developmental evolution of self are key constructs within this research.

To study the spaces between professional identities, a/r/tography was used as the primary research methodology, which allowed for openings and inquiry into interstitial space. Fourteen art teachers participated as group participants and five were studied in more depth on an individual level. Participants created metaphorical representations and engaged in dialogue about their professional identities as well as shared artifacts from their teaching practice.

Findings from the study were rendered using Surrealist devices, in keeping with the framework that art and writing, visual and literal depictions, are necessary to evaluate the complexity of this topic. There were four major themes revealed in the data, which encompass the misnaming of objects, hybridity and heterotopias, paradoxical relationships, and successful crossings between identities. Additionally, Kegan's (1982) developmental theory underpins the participant's reflections and an ABC model of identity was created to highlight and quantify the intersections. In sum, there are blurry, boundless spaces within teacher professional identity that cannot be categorized and are not attended to in the literature. Participants accounted for feelings of heightened ability, intuition, and flow when they were able to positively intersect their multiple professional identities in their work, and this points to an area of research that is both cutting edge and needs more study.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Sarabeth G. Berk


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

265 p.


Education, Teacher education, Art education